Author: Amanda McGill

A Hymn for Rogationtide

Due to the Zoom outage on Sunday morning, we didn’t sing “O Jesus, Crowned With All Renown” for our church’s virtual service. This made me sad because I love the words to this hymn — and, of course, Kingsfold (the tune). So, I thought I would share a simple home recording of the hymn as an encouragement for us all to be singing it in our living rooms (and gardens!). Normally, for our church, I would be playing the piano; but the ukulele is nice for homely music-making. It’s #148 in The Book of Common Praise 2017 and #101 in The Hymnal 1940 (and I can’t find my 1982 or I would share). Here are the chords we used. O Jesus, crowned with all renown, Since Thou the earth hast trod, Thou reignest, and by Thee come down Henceforth the gifts of God. Thine is the health and Thine the wealth That in our halls abound, And Thine the beauty and the joy With which the years are crowned. Lord, in their change, let frost and heat, And winds …

Rogationtide: The Wendell Berry Days of the Church Year — The North American Anglican

  Here is my latest article for the North American Anglican. The Rogation Days will arrive as my small vegetable garden begins to look nice. I’ll be digging around in my raised beds, feeling like Wendell Berry may be modestly pleased with me and wondering if he knows about the Rogation Days (because I imagine he would approve). A few years back, since it was not obvious to me what the Rogation Days were about from the name, I started mentally subtitling them “The Wendell Berry Days.” Now Rogationtide is tangled up in my mind with quotes about the importance of agriculture and of preserving (seemingly) anachronistic traditions tied to the order of the world. What are the Rogation Days? Dating back to 470 AD, Archbishop Mamertus instituted the Rogation Days – the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day – after a period of natural disasters had ravaged the people of Vienne, France. He proclaimed days of fasting and processions of prayer around the freshly-sprouted fields, asking God for mercy in the growth of …

The Supper of the Lamb and Lent-Pandemic Cooking — The North American Anglican

Here is my latest post for the North American Anglican. Have you read the Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon? It’s been just the right book for me to be rereading lately…. Finding myself cooking more than ever and in need of some inspiration, I’ve lately returned to Robert Farrar Capon’s Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection. Written by an Episcopal priest back in 1967, The Supper of the Lamb is both a quirky cookbook and a doxological digression on the nature of reality. Since he describes himself as an “Anglican, or moderately high-church, cook,” readers of this publication may discover a guide to Anglican identity even unto the kitchen (7). Yet regardless of tradition, this book is full of practical and theological insights that are pertinent in these strange days. Now that we are trying to minimize grocery trips, I’ve been reminded of Capon’s distinction between “ferial” and “festal” cooking. While I’ve always seen his thoughts on “ferial” cooking as applicable for Lent, they’re even more practical now during the pandemic. …

Common Prayer in a Time of Fear

I made a simple printable of relevant collects from the Prayer Book to tape up by my kitchen and bathroom sinks. I thought I would share it here, too, in case any of you would also like it. Download here: Common Prayer in Time of Fear As I’m sure many others have, I’ve been dwelling a lot on Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”   I’ve been encouraged by that word “guard.” The peace of God is not something flimsy, evanescent. It’s stalwart, solid, firm. When we make our requests known to God, His peace guards us “manfully” (to use a word from the Prayer Book). And, I keep thinking of this quotation about prayer that I shared back in the summer (it was quoted in Company of Voices by George Guiver): “Perhaps at this very moment, on other …

Surrounded by the Scriptures — The North American Anglican

I’ve written many posts about Lent, common prayer, the Coronavirus, etc. in my mind these last few weeks. But, with caring for my little newborn, they haven’t made it past a paragraph or two when I actually go to type them.   I did manage to write my monthly article for the North American Anglican, sending it in the day before I had my baby (I’m guessing this is the only article on that site finished in between contractions?). My article, “Surrounded by the Scriptures,” was posted this morning and in light of all that’s going on in our world, I’m finding what I wrote then to be relevant. Isn’t it stunning how the Scriptures leap up at us in light of contemporary events? How the prayers in the Prayer Book seem written just for this moment? As I write in this article, I’m so grateful for the “intertextuality” of a liturgical life by the Prayer Book. I was a “Preseminary Bible Major” at my evangelical college. While I regret the assumptions about spirituality which caused …

Common Prayer & Parenthood — The North American Anglican

I’m excited to be a new monthly contributor to the North American Anglican. Here is my first article, summarizing the changes in my understanding of common and private prayer:  From when I was a teenager, silent mornings of Bible study and prayer rooted my spiritual life. This “quiet time” habit served me well—until I became a mother. And then, it was ripped away from me and I resented it. Despite efforts to wake up before my children, their infallible instinct that I was awake, plus the creaks of our old house, made this time alone impossible. When we could manage it, my husband would watch our kids so that I could slip away. But it was never enough to fill me up for the demands of life with a toddler and infant. So, in my soul, I raged against my children. Because they were “bad sleepers,” I practically didn’t have a relationship with God anymore. Of course, I tried to fit prayer and Scripture into the crannies of my day. But, inevitably, it was accidental, …

Fertile Ground: A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy

Six and a half years ago, expecting my first daughter, I remember looking for books about pregnancy. I didn’t want ones that just covered biology or gave more rules about eating unpasteurized soft cheeses. I wanted a book that would bring Scripture and theology to bear on my pregnancy, but I looked in vain.  For this reason, when I learned about Fertile Ground: A Pilgrimage Through Pregnancy by Laura S. Jansson, I jumped at the opportunity to read it (I received a copy through Ancient Faith Publishing in exchange for my honest review). And, I am so glad — this is the book I was hoping to find. Jansson’s many years as a doula, along with her theological training (she has a Masters in Theology and Philosophy from Oxford) and beautiful writing combine to make this a truly valuable book. It’s one of my favorites of 2019. Now, in writing this review, I could sound like an over-excited infomercial. But, to give my words a bit more specificity, I’m going to focus on the ways …

A “Quiet Mind” or a “Mind of Winter?”

Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. This week’s collect contains one of my favorite phrases in the Prayer Book — a “quiet mind.” I love that description. My mind is loud with worries, restlessness, and self-preoccupation. A “quiet mind” — that’s what I need.  In addition to the beautiful collect, this twenty-first week of Trinity also contained our first snow and record-breaking cold temperatures. I never used to dread winter, but young children and the seemingly perpetual sickness (and thus sleep deprivation) tempts me nowadays to deem the whole season as sinister. In these dark moods, I feel the icy creep of hopelessness. It makes me think of Wallace Stevens’ famous poem “The Snow Man:” One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers …

All Saints’ Day: An Unpolished Reflection about Prayer Book Liturgical Living

Today is All Saints’ Day. What will my family be doing? It’s very simple. This morning, we prayed a shortened version of the Morning Office together (i.e. Lord’s Prayer, Revelation 19:1-16, Te Deum, Apostle’s Creed, Collect for All Saints’). After I write this post, I’m going to pull all of our saints’ picture books out and let my kids pick some to read. Then, tonight, our church has a potluck and a Holy Communion service, where we will sing the classics — “For All The Saints,” “Who Are These Like Stars Appearing?” “The Church’s One Foundation…” And we will partake of the bread and wine as one body, in gratitude that “we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people.” Here are some of the things I could have done, but didn’t: We’re not dressing up as saints. I didn’t get any special meals together. I didn’t print out any of those fun All Saints’ printables. But, even though I’m a person who …

Some Lovely Books for St. Francis’s Feast Day

St. Francis of Assisi’s feast day is October 4th — tomorrow! Here on the Homely Hours, we have a post with the story of St. Francis that we use in our Godly Play program at church. At the bottom of that post are some book recommendations and I wanted to take a moment to share one more with you. Saint Francis and the Animals: A Mother Bird’s Story  I was grateful to receive from Paraclete Press the lovely children’s book Saint Francis and the Animals: A Mother Bird’s Story by Phil Gallery, illustrated by Sibyl MacKenzie. I had seen it online and thought that the illustrations were stunning, so I was excited to have the opportunity to review it. Creative Framing of the Story Gallery shares the story of St. Francis through the eyes of the birds. Apparently, for the birds living around Assisi, the rite of passage from nest to flight means the passing down of the story of St. Francis. I thought this was a fun and creative way to frame the story. Each young bird (Benjamin …